Some ob-gyns in South Florida turn away overweight women
By Bob LaMendola
Posted: 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, May 17, 2011
In a nation with 93 million obese people, a few ob-gyn doctors in South Florida now refuse to see otherwise healthy women solely because they are overweight.
Fifteen obstetrics-gynecology practices out of 105 polled by the Sun Sentinel said they have set weight cut-offs for new patients starting at 200 pounds or based on measures of obesity — and turn down women who are heavier.
Some of the doctors said the main reason was their exam tables or other equipment can't handle people over a certain weight. But at least six said they were trying to avoid obese patients because they have a higher risk of complications.
"People don't realize the risk we're taking by taking care of these patients," said Dr. Albert Triana, whose two-physician practice in South Miami declines patients classified as obese. "There's more risk of something going wrong and more risk of getting sued. Everything is more complicated with an obese patient in GYN surgeries and in [pregnancies]."
Plantation ob-gyn partners Jeffrey Solomon and Isabel Otero-Echandi turn down any woman weighing more than 250 pounds.
Solomon and Otero don't want to begin seeing heavy women and then have to send them to specialists if they later develop problems, said their office manager, who asked not to be named. The two doctors, like several of the others with weight cutoffs, declined to comment.
"This is not a high-risk practice," the office manager said. "They are not experts in obesity."
Turning down overweight people is not illegal for doctors, but the policy worried leaders of physician groups, medical ethics experts and advocates for the obese, all of whom said it violates the spirit of the medical profession.